TA Types & Teaching Credentials

The purpose of this document is to establish the University’s policy regarding the teaching credentials and support activities required for Teaching Assistants (TAs). This policy is based on the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) teaching credentials guidelines for graduate teaching assistants as follows: Master’s in the teaching discipline or 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline, direct supervision by a faculty member experienced in the teaching discipline, regular in-service training, and planned and periodic evaluations. 

Definitions: For the purpose of this policy, primary responsibility is defined as a teaching assignment assumed by an individual who functions autonomously to carry out teaching and learning activities, evaluate student performance, and assign final grades. 

In addition to TAs with primary, independent responsibility for teaching a class (Type 1), the University uses TAs in three other major ways:

  • (Type 2) to teach a course under a course coordinator who closely supervises all aspects of the teaching and learning process. In this type of teaching assignment, TAs deliver the course by using a common textbook, common syllabus, and common exams and grading procedures. The course coordinator establishes the grading methodology and criteria. The TA recommends a final grade to the course coordinator who reviews the recommendation and takes responsibility for assigning final grades. 
  • (Type 3) to support a primary instructor within a classroom or lab setting, such as a recitation leader; and 
  • (Type 4) to provide out-of-classroom support to a primary instructor (behind the scenes, no direct interaction with students), such as grading.

Teaching Credentials and Support Activities:  The criteria below describe the credentials and support necessary for each TA type:

Type 1

A Teaching Assistant who has primary responsibility for teaching a class must:

  • meet the following educational attainment criteria: an earned master’s degree in the teaching discipline or 18 graduate semester hours completed in the teaching discipline.  The faculty member making a teaching assignment is responsible for ensuring a match between the TA’s educational credentials and the teaching area;
  • have access to a faculty member who will provide supervision and support;
  • participate in regular orientation and development programs provided by the Graduate School and the primary college and/or department for which she/he is teaching;
  • participate in the Teacher Course Evaluation process, or other formal teaching evaluation process as required by the college, and have an opportunity to discuss results with the faculty supervisor in order to plan for improvements; and
  • achieve a Category 1 status (a score of 3.5 or above) on the University’s oral language screening if English is not the TA’s native language (AR II-1.09).

Type 2

A TA who teaches a class under the direct supervision of a course coordinator must:

  • be enrolled as a graduate student in the teaching area;
  • participate in required supervision for all teaching activities;
  • participate in regular orientation and development programs provided by the Graduate School and the primary college and/or department for which she/he is teaching;
  • participate in the teaching evaluation process as required by the Graduate School and college, and have an opportunity to discuss results with the faculty supervisor in order to plan for improvements; and
  • achieve a Category 1 status (a score of 3.5 or above) on the University’s oral language screening if English is not the TA’s native language (AR II-1.09).

Type 3

A TA who serves in a supporting classroom role to a primary instructor must:

  • be enrolled as a graduate student in the teaching area or a related teaching area;
  • have access to a faculty member who will provide supervision and support;
  • participate in regular orientation and development programs provided by the Graduate School and the primary college and/or department for which she/he is teaching;
  • participate in the teaching evaluation process as required by the Graduate School and college, and have an opportunity to discuss results with the faculty supervisor in order to plan for improvements; and
  • achieve at least a Category 2 status (a score of 3.0 or above) on the University’s oral language screening if English is not the TA’s native language (AR II-1.09).

Type 4

A TA who serves in a supporting role outside the classroom (e.g.. grader) must:

  • be enrolled as a graduate student in the teaching area or a related teaching area;
  • have access to a faculty member who will provide supervision and support;
  • participate in regular orientation and development programs provided by the Graduate School and the primary college and/or department for which she/he is teaching;
  • participate in a periodic performance evaluation with his/her supervisor; and
  • achieve at least a Category 2 status (a score of 3.0 or above) on the University’s oral language screening if English is not the TA’s native language (AR II-1.09).
     

Questions? Contact Dr. Morris Grubbs (257-9725) or Erin Shoot (257-4137) in The Graduate School.